Best Play

On Sept. 12, the Orioles were tied for first place in the AL East and hosting the Tampa Bay Rays, who were only two games back and charging hard. Top of the ninth, runners at second and third, two outs, a 3-2 count, and the score knotted at two, Evan Longoria hits a slow roller to third. It's the kind of situation you want a veteran to handle. Manny Machado is a 20-year-old rookie who'd never played third until getting called to the bigs on Aug. 9, but the rookie's got moves like Brooksie. Machado charged the line, scooped the dying duck off the turf and seemed to make a rookie mistake as he twisted his body and appeared to hurl a cannon-shot to first, but the cagey rook held the ball fooling the announcers, the cameraman, and, most importantly, Tampa's Rich Thompson, who was faked so far out of his jock it beat him back to Tampa. Thompson broke for home. Machado threw behind him and caught him in a run-down-ending the inning-then came up in the bottom of the ninth and scored the walk-off winning run.

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